Sometimes I think my job is just too easy
. Every once in a while, some person in government commits such an egregiously ridiculous
act of stupidity that I can't help but think that they're trying to give me things to node
This past week, Christine Todd Whitman, our new Environmental Protection Agency head, gave me one of those topics when she came out pro-arsenic.
Yes, that's arsenic. The arsenic of "Arsenic and Old Lace," the arsenic of sudden cardiovascular collapse at high doses and lung, bladder and skin cancer at low doses. Yet Whitman thinks we should have more in our drinking water.
What is at issue is a rule enacted under Clinton that lowered allowable amounts of arsenic in water, from 10 times the widely accepted World Health Organization standard to only two times their acceptable level.
Whitman offered as justification for her action that she thinks that the Clinton decision was "rushed," and that she wanted the conclusions about arsenic supported by "the best available science."
This would be funny if it didn't mean that she wants Americans to drink poison. Even if you don't accept results from the National Academy of Sciences indicating that arsenic causes cancer, one would think anyone would be skeptical of a claim that a poison doesn't hurt because it's diluted.
The reason this is even an issue at all is because, as always, of one of the major contributors to Whitman's boss. Lowering arsenic levels in water would require mines to spend money to reduce the amount of arsenic in the poisonous water they spew from their plants into our drinking supply.
I don't know about you, but I would be willing to spend a fair amount of money to guarantee that I wasn't drinking poison. But apparently that is too much to ask of the mining companies. And as those same companies gave $5.6 million to the Republican Party last year alone, it is also too much to ask of the current administration.
Sadly, this has become an all-too-common refrain for Bush and Whitman regarding all environmental issues, even at the price of blatantly contradicting Bush's campaign stances on issues.
Question: Is George “Dubya” Bush a liar, or is it just that he takes orders from the wealthy interests who give him money to do their bidding? Which kind of President did you vote for?
Take carbon-dioxide emissions. During the campaign, Bush swore up and down that he would regulate emissions of carbon dioxide from power plants. To refresh your memory, carbon dioxide gases are acknowledged by the scientific community at large to be the cause of the greenhouse effect, or global warming.
At this point, global warming is considered enough of a threat to have instigated action worldwide in scope, notably with the Kyoto Accord on Climate Change, a multi-national agreement to reduce the production of carbon gases. The United States was part of that agreement, which helped assuage the fears and anger from foreign nations about our inordinately high production of carbon gases: 25 to 30 percent of all emissions in the world.
And for a short while, it seemed like this would be one campaign promise Bush was going to keep: Whitman, for all her other shortcomings, said that she was committed to reducing emissions, and Secretary of the Treasury Paul O'Neill told Bush that the Kyoto Accord didn't go far enough.
But then the business lobbyists decided that reducing emissions just wasn't cost-effective. The money flowed in, and Bush changed direction like a marionette whose strings had been jerked. According to Time magazine, Whitman was furious with Bush over the reversal, but still toed the party line and announced her own change of heart.
Thus the true nature of the White House is revealed: for all this talk of buying pardons from Clinton, the presidency only truly went up for sale with the inauguration of the current chief executive. Time and time again, Bush has shown how his policies are available to the highest bidder, depending on how much was contributed during his campaign: hard-line statements to support industries, ambassadorships to big donors and former business partners and now even broken promises to the American people.
While the press is led around by its collective nose with ridiculously inflated (and loudly trumpeted) stories about the Clinton's cutting phone lines in the White House, or stealing furniture or breaking glasses on Air Force One, George “Dubya” Bush lets his rich masters poison your water and your air so that they can become even richer.
When the polar ice melts, and the oceans rise, drowning most of the present shoreline of the world, who do you think is going to own the new beachfront property in the Sierras? That's right the rich guys. You can buy your air and water from them at a reasonable price.
Unless there's a shortage.